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They're mostly following the lead of the federal government, which has decided to prioritize getting vets off the streets as homelessness becomes a growing issue all over the country. But while much of the federal money is handed out in the form of rent vouchers to help pay for veterans' apartments, the city and county are finding other opportunities.
The latest: Portland's about to get its only emergency shelter specifically targeting homeless vets. The First Congregational United Church of Christ at 1126 SW Park announced yesterday it'll host 13 year-round shelter beds homeless veterans can use nightly for up to a week at a time. The church will even take in their dogs (up to seven of them).
Mayor Charlie Hales, Multnomah Count Chair Deborah Kafoury, and other officials are scrambling to find new shelter space with winter on the way, and hoping a new housing "state of emergency" can help. The new vets' shelter—right on the South Park Blocks—has been in the works for longer than that. It's relying on $65,000 in already-disbursed city and county funds to get off the ground this year, along with an unspecified donation from US Bank that'll allow it to open tomorrow—Veterans' Day.
The stakeholder group A Home For Everyone, which has been mapping out a strategy for combatting homelessness in Multnomah County since last year, has recommended spending $250,000 next fiscal year on veterans' shelters, even as the city hopes to get most homeless vets off the streets by Christmas.
The shelter will be run by Do Good Multnomah, a brand new organization that sprung up in response to the veterans' initiative, and staffed largely by volunteers, according to the church.
Officials will formally unveil the shelter at a press conference tomorrow afternoon.